Mammoth guard was dominant in the '80s


Published: Saturday, July 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 12:10 p.m.
No. 63 Jeff Zimmerman Position: Offensive guard/tackle. Years he played: 1983-86. Top 100 credentials: The versatile Zimmerman earned first-team All-SEC and All-American recognition as a guard his junior year and as a tackle his senior year. He became the first non-senior offensive lineman to earn first-team All-America recognition in 1985. He repeated as an All-America his senior season. How he shined: Zimmerman was a physically dominant offensive lineman who excelled in run blocking. He was one of the main players in UF's Great Wall of 1984, which is considered one of the best offensive lines in school history. Making his mark: Zimmerman was selected in the third round of the draft by the Dallas Cowboys and played five seasons in the NFL. In 1999, he was named a second-team member on UF's Team of the Century. No. 63 Florida 14, Tennessee 13
When: Dec. 27, 1969.
Where: Gator Bowl, Jacksonville. What happened: Florida scored a fourth-quarter touchdown on a pass from John Reaves to Carlos Alvarez to pull off a surprising win over the SEC champion Vols. Although Florida was known for its offense that season, the defense took over the game and allowed UF to finish with its best record to that point at 9-1-1. Who was the hero: The MVP was an unlikely choice, a solid linebacker who made a season's worth of big plays in one game. When All-American Steve Tannen blocked a Herman Weaver punt, James Kelley was there to grab it and returned it eight yards for a score. He also intercepted a Bobby Scott pass at the UF 8-yard line and recovered a fumble deep in Florida territory. Why it mattered: Rumors were flying that Ray Graves was about to step down and be replaced by Doug Dickey. As it turned out, this was Graves' last game. He called it the “biggest win I've had in coaching.”

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